Have you heard about this one? The IFFF has introduced a “Fly Tying Skills Awards Program”. It is a three level program, with Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards.
Basically, the fly tier submits 3 examples of a set of required and optional patterns to be judged for consistency, proportions, pattern accuracy, and other areas.
OK, I’ll admit it, I was skeptical. After all, I could care less about the certificate that you receive for achieving each level and I doubt if I would ever show it to anyone or even remember where I put it after receiving it.
But the more I think about this new program, the more I like it. And I think I’ll give it a shot and will try to find time over the holiday’s to tie up the flies.
After all, how many of us have ever actually sat down with an experienced fly tier and received a real critique of our tying skills? I do that often with my casting and it has helped my casting skills significantly. But I’ve never done that with my fly tying. So, why not take advantage of the opportunity?
When I first read the list of flies for the Bronze award, it sounded too easy. But on second thought, even if they are simple patterns, you have to tie 3 examples of each pattern that are identical to each other…. That is not as easy as it sounds. AND you need to actually follow the real pattern and materials… I seldom if ever actually do that, I’m always substituting or changing materials or colors. Successfully completing these patterns could be more challenging than it first appears to be. It also requires you demonstrate skills tying a variety of different fly patterns, including emergers, dry’s, wets, nymphs, and more.
They’ve only posted the requirements for the Bronze level and after thinking about these requirements, I think the Gold award will be very difficult to achieve.
Here’re the details:http://www.fedflyfishers.org/Tying/FlyTyingSkillsAwardsProgram.aspx
The fly list for the Bronze award are the tie three examples of each of these patterns:
- Grey Goose Emerger
- Pheasant Tail Variant Dry Fly
- Partridge and Orange Soft Hackle Wet Fly
- Woolly Bugger
- Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear Nymph
- Plus three more patterns of the tier’s choosing
Take a look at this program and see what you think. The more I’ve thought about it, the more I like it as a way to help improve my own fly tying skills. After all, how often do world class fly tiers offer to review your flies and offer suggestions to help you become a better fly tier?